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Rings, Kings and English things in Spring...returning to London

Rings, Kings and English things in Spring...returning to London

Old May 2nd, 2023, 04:42 PM
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London in the springtime is so pretty. I always enjoy your trips.
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Old May 2nd, 2023, 08:13 PM
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I stayed at the Limetree Hotel, from April 16 to the 21st…maybe we crossed paths. Loved staying there and certainly got my fitness in-my room was on the top floor-60 stairs of the narrow variety. Had cake and tea at Peggy Porschen- I know it is an Instagram fave but I’ve had far better cake in lots of other places I must say.
I absolutely love that area.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 02:23 AM
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Raincitygirl - I was definitely right outside your hotel taking photos We had breakfast there the day after you left!
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 07:42 AM
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denisea, that's so funny. We Fodorites are everywhere it seems. I will definitely stay there again and a couple of mornings I walked up to Sloane Square and had breakfast at Colberts which was fantastic.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 08:30 AM
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I do love a London trip report and yours is off to a great start! I always enjoy Elizabeth Street and Pavilion Rd - Hans Bar and Grill there is good. Will be back next week until the end of May!! Iím sure Iíll find some helpful hints from your report along the way.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by raincitygirl
denisea, that's so funny. We Fodorites are everywhere it seems. I will definitely stay there again and a couple of mornings I walked up to Sloane Square and had breakfast at Colberts which was fantastic.
we loved Colbert and went there several times!!
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 10:53 AM
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Well, Tracy saw your flower photos, so if we live long enough it's back to London in April. Great start!
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 12:43 PM
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Colbert is great...it is part of the Wolseley Group of restaurants.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 02:31 PM
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Welcome maitaitom (and Tracy)!! FYI - more flower photos are on the way so buckle up! Weekender - I did not realize the Wolseley connection with Colbert! Thanks for that.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 02:40 PM
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Friday, April 21, 2023

We started Friday in Paris. Well, it felt a bit like Paris for a number of reasons. We walked to Colbert in Sloane Square and I told the woman who greeted us that we had a reservation. She could find no record of a reservation and repeated that about 10 times. Hmm, well I clearly imagined that I made a reservation. Noticing lots of open tables I asked if they could accommodate a table for 3…while she continued to let me know we didn’t have a reservation. I eventually got my point across that it was fine and I understood that we didn’t have a reservation but we would still like a table, if possible. We got a table (and a time limit) and started perusing the menu for French favorites.

Colbert reminded us of a bigger version of Le Bonaparte in the 6th arr in Paris. The service was friendly and my sister and Mr Starbucks were happy to get lots of Americano by the pot. We had plenty of time to enjoy breakfast before catching the Tube to Westminster. One of our fav things that truly says "I'm on vacation" is breakfast.

I had a croissant with Comte cheese and ham and it was delicious (so did Mr Starbucks). I got a flat white to make my coffee drinking companions happy. My sis got a crispy bacon roll with fried egg. We split a pain au chocolat (which really makes me feel like I am in Paris). Everything was good except there was no crispy in the crispy bacon roll!

Finally we were off to Westminster Abbey and more rain. We booked tickets online but there was a line for security but it seemed to move quickly (which was good because it was raining). This was the last day to visit before the Abbey would close to the public to prepare for King Charles III’s Coronation.

It’s always a pretty awe inspiring thing to be at WA. The history is staggering and as the coronation is upon us, it’s special to be there. I had to chuckle as we watched a guy with a jet pack apparatus vacuuming the woodwork. We also had tickets to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries above WA. I had heard mixed reviews about the Galleries but it was only 5 pounds. We were able to get in a few minutes early. A few display items were missing because of the Coronation but honestly the birdseye view of the Abbey from up there was worth it. Additionally there were these cool little boxes that were little recreations of Queen Victoria’s Coronation. Maybe the best thing in the Galleries was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in the Abbey. I don’t believe she posed for it but it looked almost like a photograph. I also enjoyed some of the coronation clothing that was on display.

As we left to headed to Fleet Street we got the full experience of all the protesters in front of Parliament.

We walked around Fleet Street and ducked into Fountain Square. The wisteria there is gonna be beautiful in a week or two but it’s still a nice garden spot. Next up was Temple Church. Mr Starbucks is a Knights Templar “fan” and the church seems a bit humble after the Abbey. It’s still pretty just not as grand. Speaking of grand, we walked up to St Paul (and I still haven’t been inside - but a 3rd church in a row might have killed my traveling companions).

From there, we crossed the Millenium Bridge, caught a glimpse of The Globe and The Shard, and then headed to Borough Market. It was a zoo and much more crowded than our last visit. No matter, I headed right to Kappacasein for a cheese toastie. So good. A little ginger cake from Bread Ahead and a glass of wine rounded out the lunch.

Bellies full we waddled over to St Dunstan’s in the East (another Instagram mecca). So, I guess we did visit a 3rd church after all. It’s lovely and would have been more so without the orange plastic fencing in front of the grassy areas! Mostly we sat and enjoyed the flowers and the sun trying to come out…and watched two young ladies taking a million photos of themselves to get that one that’s good enough to post! It always makes us laugh.

From there we headed to the final destination, Leadenhall market. It really is beautiful. It seemed like there should be more there than there is but perhaps some things didn’t survive COVID. We sat at a little French cafe for an afternoon pick me up and to rest our tired dogs. We had a dinner reservation at Lamb Tavern and were planning on a cocktail at their downstairs place, Old Tom’s Bar. I don’t recall the name of the spot.

Old Tom’s Bar is downstairs from Lamb Tavern and a nice spot. Only a few people were there….most were upstairs at Lamb Tavern for Friday after work drinks.

I got wine and they got Old Fashioneds. Bartender couldn’t have been more miserable and was not gonna talk. Good thing the drinks were good. After we were there for about an hour and a half we finally got him to talk a little and apparently lived in California for awhile. We ended upstairs at Lamb Tavern for dinner and had a great table overlooking the market. Their fish and chips were amazing - waaayy better than Thomas Cubitt. Mr Starbucks got a lamb pie that he loved. Great food and no room for dessert. A taxi back to Chelsea and we all were done. We crammed a lot in and it was a great first full day in London!

Last edited by Moderator1; May 3rd, 2023 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Unbolded
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 02:59 PM
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Colbert

Crispy bacon roll

Croissant (or quaso if you love those videos on TikTok and Insta) with Comte and ham

Pain au chocolat

Westminster Abbey






The view from the Galleries


QEII portrait in the Gallery

More views from the Galleries





Temple Church

Temple church


St Paul

St Paul

The Shard


St Dunstanís in the East

St Dunstanís in the East






Leadenhall Market

Old Tomís bar

Lamb Tavern

Lamb Tavern
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 03:27 PM
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Glorious!!! Thank you
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 03:43 PM
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Pictures and your descriptions are wonderful. We are leaving in a week for London and I’m very excited. We were last there in Nov 2019 and it was the last international trip we took before you know what happened. We are staying in convent garden at the Raddison Blu Mercer street at Seven Dials. I love that area and all my favorite restaurants are close by. It’s just a 3 night trip to get adjusted from Calif time and then onward to Paris for a week long conference my husband used to attend every year. Only planned event is tickets to the David Hockney show and probably a visit to my one of my favorite museums, the Victoria and Albert. I’m interested to read about your experience at Tandoor Chop House. We went in 2019 and hopefully it is still as good as I remember.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by macdogmom
Pictures and your descriptions are wonderful. We are leaving in a week for London and Iím very excited. We were last there in Nov 2019 and it was the last international trip we took before you know what happened. We are staying in convent garden at the Raddison Blu Mercer street at Seven Dials. I love that area and all my favorite restaurants are close by. Itís just a 3 night trip to get adjusted from Calif time and then onward to Paris for a week long conference my husband used to attend every year. Only planned event is tickets to the David Hockney show and probably a visit to my one of my favorite museums, the Victoria and Albert. Iím interested to read about your experience at Tandoor Chop House. We went in 2019 and hopefully it is still as good as I remember.
yes! Tandoor chop house is still excellent.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 04:57 PM
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love reading your reports about my fav city-its been 6 years for me th elongest ive not been there.
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 04:59 PM
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Denise,
I always enjoy reading your trip reports & I wanted to say that I went to Tandoor Chop House after reading about your experience. My friends and I loved it - so much fun to watch the people cooking with the tandoors and the cocktails were lovely. I am planning to return on my next trip this June. So, thank you!
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Old May 3rd, 2023, 05:37 PM
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Thanks everyone for reading along and for your responses. Iím always glad if any of the info I share is useful and/or makes you want to visit some of the same spots (or cities) we go to!
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Old May 4th, 2023, 04:09 AM
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London is always a fun place, even in the rain. Your flower photos were lovely.
Your photo of St. Paul’s took me back to climbing the 528 steps to the top with my 13 yr. old granddaughter….yikes, what was I thinking! Good thing that was some years ago. I would never attempt that climb now.
Taking notes on your restaurant visits for next visit. You do tend to choose good spots.
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Old May 4th, 2023, 03:53 PM
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Saturday, April 22
So, when I saw a place in Belgravia (on Insta) called The Buttery, I kinda had to go there. I am so glad we booked a table as it is small but so charming, cozy and rustic. It is part of The Lime Tree Hotel. The outdoor garden space is also really nice but we got a corner table for breakfast and it did not disappoint. Staff - super friendly Menu- lots of options Food - terrific

I had Straciatella Toast - sourdough with burrata, tomatoes and smoked paprika oil. My sister had eggs benedict and Mr Starbucks got their version of a full English. The food is very fresh and locally sourced. Everything was excellent and we are still talking about the roast potatoes…not like a roast fingerling potato but those super thinly sliced and stacked potatoes that are so soft in the middle super crisp outside. Potato heaven.

We made our way to Paddington and on to Windsor Central. And as soon as we got on the street it was packed. I had planned our arrival for after 11am as we weren’t that interested in the changing of the guards. But, we walked smack into a crowd waiting for just that. I dunno - someone said it was in honor of the London Marathon being run the next day. All I could really see were people’s heads and their phones raised above their heads but I did get a short glimpse of the Coldwater Guards as they came down the road. As the crowd broke up, we waded through the crowd up to Windsor Castle. Getting through security wasn’t bad and we were in the castle grounds in no time.

The moat gardens were beautiful and I would have loved to walk down there and have a glass of wine but it didn’t happen. There were still tons of daffodils in bloom and the castle really is impressive. I hate that you can’t take photos as I can’t remember everything without photos. I was more impressed with the interior than I expected to be. When we first walked in you can see the Long Walk from the Castle and that’s cool and iconic (at least to me). The Lantern Room was one of my favorites…that ceiling is gorgeous. Apparently this room replaced Queen Victoria’s chapel where the fire started over 30 years ago (can’t believe it was that long ago). Also St George’s hall was impressive and so many other rooms that are quite ornate but I don’t know the names of them (I suppose I should have bought a book at the gift shop).

Fortunately for me, I had no interest in Queen Mary’s Doll House and there was quite a line for that. We did have to wait in line for St George’s chapel…beautiful!! The line was sizable and quite slow but you can’t access the center aisle in the chapel and I believe the line moved slowly as at the end is Queen Elizabeth II’s burial site. It was touching to see and I always appreciated her. I can’t imagine such a long life, in the public eye where you aren’t supposed to express your personal thoughts is beyond me. I think being there right before the coronation also made it a bit more special. It’s really is an exquisite place and I loved H & M’s wedding there, although I could do with a lot less of them now.

We really enjoyed Windsor and maybe we should have stayed longer and saw a bit more but after Friday, a half day excursion was good. We had a late nosh of charcuterie, cheese and Champs at CŰte just across the Thames. We had hoped to sit outside but were told rain was expected and if we sat outside, we couldn’t move inside if/when it rained. We enjoyed it and took the train from Windsor Riverside back to Waterloo and back to the apartment to clean up for dinner.

We all love Gordon Ramsay and we had reservations at Gordon Ramsay Bar and grill with our eye on beef wellington. I can tell you that a text I got late that afternoon really sucked the life out of our Saturday night.

I had been really looking forward to going back to Tandoor Chop House but on a Sunday to get their Mighty Thali. It always looks soooo goood. The text told me that they had some sort of equipment issue that they had not been able to get sorted and were CANCELING our Sunday reservation. Big bummer.

Well, at least we’d have Saturday night with Gordon. The restaurant is at a Marriott hotel in Mayfair. We walked in through the hotel and were surprised there was no host stand…it’s awkward. There is nowhere for you to stand-you are instantly in the way. We were seated quickly but will say the restaurant is busy and loud. The server appeared for a minute and we asked if it would be possible to get the Wellington for three…nope - it’s for two and he thought they were OUT OF IT. What? It’s seven pm, how can you already be out of your signature dish?

He went to check and came back and said we were in the clear but proceeded to take our dinner order and we didn’t even have a cocktail yet. We were told the Wellington would take 45 minutes and we should order now…ok, but can we also order a cocktail with the dinner order? (seriously, you gotta be kidding me). My sis and I got the Wellington and Starbucks ordered a ribeye steak and fries.

The drinks came out. Mine was pretty but too thick really (tangerine margarita), Chaz had an old fashioned that was too sweet and watered down from the small ice cubes and my sis said the GR gin and tonic was ok but nothing special. Hmmm…not a great start. And then….there was the food! In 15 minutes. We didn’t even get to discuss wine. Hell, we barely had a few sips of our less than stellar drinks. I would have gotten wine right from the start if I had thought the food would come out that quickly. The Wellington was delicious but the masked potatoes needed salt. The steak was good but not great- not a great sear on the meat. We determined that this was just forgettable overall.

The restaurant really was kinda chaos and there were too many manager types doing nothing and it didn’t seem like enough servers. We got dessert and I got sticky toffee pudding that was delicious but the menu said it came with gingerbread ice cream. It came with vanilla ice cream.

We paid the check and were happy to be leaving but disappointed as it should have been a great Saturday night dinner. On our last trip we went to GR’s Heddon Street Kitchen twice and the food, service and everything was dead on perfect.

Also on our last trip, we enjoyed some drinks at The Connaught. We headed over there hoping to change our luck with a great drink in a hotel known for great service. Didn’t happen.

It looked like they were remodeling what used to be the bar right up front. We were shown to a small bar (I think formerly the Champagne bar) next to a new kinda modern bar that we are not cool enough or rich enough to get into.

It just wasn’t our night. It took quite some time to even order our drinks. In fact we just had a standing room spot and we did get moved to a table but there only was one server and we waited a long time to order. And then the Martini debacle as it will be forever known started. I ordered a glass of bubbly (shocking), Chaz ordered some sort of Rye drink and my sis ordered the Connaught Gin Martini from the menu. OMG. Who would have thought that in London, getting a gin Martini at a top notch hotel would be problematic?

First, the server explained that they usually serve that from the cart but that there was no cart service available. To which my sister replied - I don’t care about the cart service, no problem. Well, they also didn’t have the Hendricks gin in this area of the hotel (OK well just use whatever gin you do have then, Tanqueray?) and the server went round and round about no cart service and no Hendricks…I kept waiting for him to tell her what he could do to make a gin Martini but it never really happened. I was frustrated listening to this and she was frustrated trying to understand how to get a drink. Then there was confusion over whether a dirty martini was possible and that finally devolved into “can I just get a gin and tonic?”. I still can’t really understand what the issue was but at that point I was just kinda over it. And so was she. I don’t remember what she ended up with. Chaz loved his drink but with all the nonsense over the Martini, I don’t remember what his drink was. Disappointing, as we had enjoyed The Connaught last trip and it definitely wasn’t the same. The first half of the day was an A and the back half was a D at best. At least we had a classic English cabbie on the ride home…always love that!

Sunday would be breakfast at The Wolseley and just some shopping on Piccadilly, Burlington Arcade and Carnaby Street…no real specific plans.
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Old May 4th, 2023, 04:24 PM
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Spring!


Love this!

More Spring trees


Thomas Cubbitt

TomTom cafe

Peggy Porschen

Thomas Cubbitt

Lime Tree Hotel

Lime Tree

Buttery Breakfast

Eggs Benedict

The Buttery

Straciatella toast

The garden at The ButteryCoro

Coronation decor at Windsor Station (Kings)

Coldwater Guards

Windsor Castle



Love this view of the castle



More Spring








The Thames



Charcuterie at Cote

GougŤres

Olives

CHAMPS




Tangerine margarita

Beef Wellington


STP

GR gin and tonic

Old fashioned


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